I was reading this question about how to identify mountain lion tracks just now, and noticed the remark at the end of the accepted answer about the lack of claw marks. I am a cat owner, so the lack of claw marks makes sense. But that led me to wonder: what animals would have a track that is similar in size and shape to a mountain lion such that the absence or presence of claw marks would be the most notable distinguishing feature?

1 Answer 1


The answer is members of the dog family of animals as they are the other type of animals with paws that a similar in size

  • wolves
  • coyotes (have to be a really big coyote or very small mountain lion)
  • domestic dogs (the bigger varieties i.e not Chihuahuas)

A full grown mountain lion will leave bigger tracks than those of any of the animals listed above but not all mountain lions are full grown. Also, tracks in snow get bigger when they melt, and so a dog track may look bigger than it really is.

Bear tracks are widely different from both.

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    Another notable difference between dog-type tracks and cat-type (bobcat, mtn lion) is the track pattern and distance between prints. Mtn lions and bobcats usually have an ALTERNATING pattern, as the rear paw is planted where the front paw was, and adult mtn lion tracks can be two feet or more apart. I can tell mtn lion tracks in snow if they alternate and if my powder snowshoes can fill the gap between same-side prints. Adult mtn lion paws will be larger than 4" wide, bigger than any dog print. Apr 19, 2018 at 16:42

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